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Czech Watch - 28 June 2001

28.6.2001 8:40
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Many of the World Bank's recommendations on performance of regions and municipalities were comprised in materials worked out by the FinMin, but these were not passed by Parliament, Deputy Finance Minister Eduard Janota said after the World Bank's study was presented yesterday.

The World Bank recommends the Czech Republic to make small municipalities merge into larger units by means of financial incentives. Regions and municipalities should also have more powers regarding decision-making and depend more on their own incomes. The bank recommends to adopt a law on bankruptcy, which would apply to municipalities as well, and to make the system of subsidies transparent so that these are allocated in line with terms set in advance. Of 91 countries rated by the organization Transparency International according to how corrupt they are, the Czech Republic comes halfway down this year's table in 47th place. "It is the worst classification the Czech Republic has received since the rating began. The reason is that corruption is talked about a lot but there are few concrete results of the effort to fight it," said the organization's Czech branch Michal Burian.

Polish central bankers cut the country's key interest rates, bowing to political pressure as the economy sputters to its slowest-ever post-communist growth rate and the government struggles to bolster flagging budget revenue. The Monetary Policy Council, led by central bank Governor Leszek Balcerowicz, lowered the 28-day intervention rate, used to adjust currency in circulation, by 150 bps to 15.5%.

The Czech government hold a meeting today morning to make its long-awaited decision on the sale of a majority stake in Komercni Banka. The Czech government announced on Thursday that it has chosen Societe Generale. Societe General will pay CZK 40 billion (EUR 1.186 billion) for the 60% stake.

The Czech koruna hit an historical high of 33.75 in overnight trading. Late on Wednesday the koruna was stronger at 33.84 to the euro against 33.87 in the morning and 33.86 late Tuesday. The CZK/USD fell back to 39.31/36 from the morning's 39.17 and from 39.29 late Tuesday. Bonds finished flat after Tuesday's rally. The state 6.95/16 was flat from late Tuesday at 99.65/90, yielding 6.98/95 percent. The state 6.75/05 ended flat at 102.10/40, yielding 6.07/9 percent.

(David Marek)

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